When I discovered I was teaching Young Adult Literature as one of my classes this year, I was thrilled. One of my reasons for becoming an English teacher was fostering a love for reading in my students, and this class was a place where I could have the opportunity to do that. However, as a first-year teacher, I knew my in-class library would be lacking the materials to support and be able to share YA books with my students in this class.
I wanted my students to also have access to Project Lit books, which is a compilation of excellent YA books that contain diverse perspectives from different cultures, races, genders etc. Since most of the books regularly taught in high school contain less diverse perspectives, I want to give my students an opportunity to read different experiences.
As a member of Sigma Tau Delta, I thought I would try and apply for a Classroom Library Grant. When I got the news that I had received this grant, I was in shock and overflowing with excitement. I set to work on getting exemplary Young Adult Lit books for my classroom, and I also strategized about different places to find these books. I first went to a local bookstore with used and discounted books. I was so excited to find many YA books for my students and for a low price! I collected about forty books from that first location, and I still had some grant money to go.
I then went to Half-Price Books to scour for more YA books. I found good quality books from this store and got quite a lot of them too. I had found around thirty nice books to add to my classroom library. With the last of my grant money, I ordered some Project Lit books that I had not found elsewhere at Target. Total, I was able to get about eighty books for my classroom with the grant money.
It was so nice for me to fill up my classroom bookshelf with all of the books I was buying. I had gotten a small bookshelf at the beginning of the semester, and it quickly filled up with the books that I had. I displayed books around my room above my cabinets. Students seemed especially interested in the book displays and would read the titles. I had a couple of students in my English sophomore classes ask to read a book they had seen from my book display. I eagerly loaned them the books, excited to see my students interested in reading.
Particularly, the students in my Young Adult Literature class thoroughly enjoyed looking through my in-class library books for options to read. Having in-class book options for students to look through helps ignite their curiosity about books and interest in reading. I am so thankful for the opportunity through this Grant to give my students this chance. The other day, one of my students in my YA class who is not a big reader told me, “Miss, I think I might like reading.” This is my goal as a teacher at the end of the day—encouraging students to truly explore perspectives outside of themselves and getting them to enjoy reading a book or two.
Sigma Tau Delta Classroom Library Grants
Sigma Tau Delta’s Classroom Library Grants are designed to enhance the Society’s goals of
- promoting interest in literature and language in the surrounding communities;
- fostering all aspects of the discipline of English, including literature, language, and writing; and
- serving society by fostering literacy.
The Classroom Library Grants are also intended to support our members who have entered the field of teaching and need material support to help achieve these goals through their work in the classroom by providing their students with a library in their own classrooms, especially where access to school or public libraries or to books in the home may be limited.
The Society will award up to five grants of $400 each per cycle to help members of Sigma Tau Delta who have been teaching in a Middle School or High School classroom for five years or fewer. That is, applicants may or may not be recent college graduates; the Classroom Library Grant is intended to help new Middle School and High School teachers, whether in their first years out of college or in the first years of a second career, to build a classroom library for their students.
Criteria For Selection
In choosing recipients, the Classroom Library Grant Committee will consider the following criteria:
- lack of economic and geographic access to books at your school, or another demonstrated need;
- the explanation of how the classroom library envisioned will support your goals in alignment with the Society’s goals; and
- supervisory endorsement of your classroom library project.
Please note that this grant is now only available to middle school and high school educators.
Deadline and Dates
Applications will be accepted through Monday, August 8, 2022, 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time (CDT).
Past Classroom Library Grant Recipients
Classroom Libraries: Inclusivity and the Reluctant Reader
“I Finished a Book!”: A Classroom Library’s Impact
The Unofficial Guide to Getting the Best Books for your Classroom
Creating Lifelong Readers with a Classroom Library Grant
The Contemporary American Dream: The Impact of a Classroom Library Grant
Building My Classroom Library: A Bright Spot in a Tough Year
Special Books for Special Students
New Books, New Motivation
If You Build a Classroom Library, They Will Read
Books are Our Passports to the World
Striking a Match